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The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Daily Drift

Makes you wonder (Yeah we know, wingnuts don't get it) ...!
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Today in History

On a trip to the Italian mainland from his home on Capreae, the emperor Tiberius dies on the Bay of Naples.
The Crusades begin the massacre of Jews in York, England.
The Emperor Babur defeats the Rajputs at the Battle of Kanvaha, removing the main Hindu rivals in Northern India.
The first Indian appears to colonists in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Susan Hayhurst becomes the first woman to graduate from a pharmacy college.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is published.
Union troops push past Confederate blockers at the Battle of Averasborough, N.C.
The British cruiser Invincible, the world's largest, is completed at Glasgow shipyards.
The 15,000-ton battleship Pennsylvania is launched at Newport News, Va.
Russian Czar Nicholas II abdicates his throne.
Physicist Robert H. Goddard launches the first liquid-fuel rocket.
The United States plans to send 1,000 more Marines to Nicaragua.
Adolf Hitler orders a German rearmament and violates the Versailles Treaty.
Germany occupies the rest Czechoslovakia.
Iwo Jima is declared secure by U.S. forces although small pockets of Japanese resistance still exist.
CBS introduces The Morning Show hosted by Walter Cornet to compete with NBC's Today Show.
President Lyndon B. Johnson submits a $1 billion war on poverty program to Congress.
U.S. troops in Vietnam destroy a village consisting mostly of women and children, the action is remembered as the My-Lai massacre.
Mozambique and South Africa sign a pact banning support for one another's internal foes.
Associated Press newsman, Terry Anderson is taken hostage in Beirut.

Some Discomfort?!


Bride walked out of wedding when groom failed to solve simple mathematical problem

A groom had to return home without his bride from a marriage hall in the Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh, northern India, after he failed to solve a simple mathematical problem on Wednesday. The bride-to-be got suspicious of the groom's educational qualification. Her cousins asked the groom to solve simple mathematical question, what is 15+6.
The groom failed to give the correct answer and the girl refused to marry him. According to information, groom Ram Baran had come from Etawah district to the marriage hall to marry Lovely, daughter of Mohar Singh. The two families and other villagers gathered at the venue. The bride and her cousins received a shock when the groom said 15+6 is 17 instead of 21. This angered the girl, who refused to marry the youth.
Just as the wedding was about to be solemnized, the bride walked away saying she would not marry an uneducated person. The groom's family tried to persuade her into going ahead with the ceremony but she refused to budge and walked out of the mandap. "Any class I student must be able to solve the simple problem asked by us. The family of the groom had kept us in dark about the youth's qualification," Singh said.
"It was a very embarrassing situation for all of us as we had come with all preparations and it was a matter of social prestige as well. We have been cheated," he added. The bride's relatives informed the police. The police did not take action against the groom and his family as both the parties reached at a compromise after intervention of some prominent citizens of the area. According to the compromise, the bride and groom's families returned gifts including jewellery exchanged during pre-marriage rituals. "Both families have amicably resolved the matter," a police officer said.

Man beaten with penis enlarger after men broke into his home looking for drugs

Two men broke into a man’s home looking for drugs but ended up battering their victim with a penis enlarger. Steven Graham, 24, and Ryan Gandy, 25, pushed their way into William Hughes’ home in Leith, Edinburgh, and beat the man over the head with the device. The two raiders also slashed Mr Hughes’ face with a kitchen knife before attacking him with the plastic object. Mr Hughes was “pinned to his settee” by the two thugs as they scoured the flat looking for quantities of heroin and cash.
But when the homeowner told them there was no drugs in the house the pair turned on their victim with violent Gandy threatening to poke out his victim’s eye with the large knife. Mr Hughes suffered cuts to his face and legs and bruising to his head during the attack. Graham and Gandy, both described as prisoners at Saughton, were jailed for 27 months each for the horrific attack at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday.
Fiscal depute Ann McNeill told the court the pair arrived at Mr Hughes home at around 5.30pm on November 26 last year. Ms McNeill said: “The accused asked if Mr Hughes had heroin and he said he had none. They pinned him on the settee and punched him in the face several times. Mr Gandy [then] brought the knife across Mr Hughes’ face but as the knife was blunt only a scratching resulted. During the search of the flat they came across a number of sex toys, one of which was used to strike Mr Hughes across the head.”
The court was then informed the sex toy used as a weapon was a penis enlarger belonging to Mr Hughes. After the pair of robbers had left the flat, Mr Hughes, who was left covered in blood following the attack, then managed to raise the alarm with a neighbor. Graham and Gandy appeared from custody and pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Hughes at his home address by punching him on the head, striking him on the body and head with a knife, threaten to poke Mr Hughes’ eye out with the weapon and striking him with a plastic object and robbing him of a quantity of cash, a wallet and a mobile phone.

Man who set fire to own house, crashed car and knocked on doors half-naked said he's Lucifer

A man covered in religious tattoos set fire to his own house, crashed his car, ran around half-naked knocking on doors and identified himself to police as Lucifer, according to the police chief in Wolcott, Connecticut. What came in as a report of a possible house fire turned into a much more unusual story as police gained more information about the suspected series of events.

Knife-wielding man tried to rob woman at stamp kiosk in post office after mistaking it for an ATM

Police have arrested a man from Reading, Pennsylvania, for allegedly robbing a woman at knife-point at a stamp kiosk. It happened at 6:22pm on Tuesday inside the Gus Yatron Post Office in Muhlenberg Township.

Link Dump

NYC Taxis: A Day in the Life  Very interesting
It’s time to play Google Feud –  Warning… It’s addictive

People in History

Harry Houdini

Culture Adjustment

As you know, in Australia, they drive on the left side of the road.
Once, an Australian man came to America on holiday with his family. It's his first time out of the country. Turns out 7 people makes getting around a little tough, so he rents a large family car the next morning, and hops on the road.
He's never driven left-hand-drive before, and makes the rookie mistake of turning out onto the wrong side of the main road! Sure enough, the man gets into an accident.
He steps out of the car and confronts the angry American driver. "Sorry mate", said the Australian man, in a thick Aussie accent.
"Did you come here to die?!" replied the American.
"Nope, I came here yester-die!"

The 15 Tweaks That Made Us Human

Humans are possibly the weirdest species to have ever lived. We have freakishly big brains that allow us to build complicated gadgets, understand abstract concepts and communicate using language. We are also almost hairless with weak jaws, and struggle to give birth. How did such a bizarre creature evolve?

Medieval Log Buildings Unearthed in Kiev

Medieval Kyiv was larger than had been thought. Last month, a construction project in one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city uncovered a street and remains of log buildings in wet ground near the Dnipro River. “Podil is very well studied, which is why everyone was very surprised when we first saw the fragments of the twelfth-century wooden fence and house,” archaeologist Ivan Zotsenko told the Kyiv Post. Continued excavation of the area, thought to have been a densely populated street, has unearthed several wooden fences, coins, beads, pots, and an amphora. “The main value of the archaeological finding is that the medieval Kyiv borders have become more clear,” Zotsenko said. The construction project has been halted and plans for a museum on the site are being considered. To read about another recent significant discovery in Ukraine, see "Massive 6,000-Year-Old Temple Unearthed."

Retro Fashion

You know you want oneā€¦
Come On You Know You Want This Outfit

Australia Uses the Motion of the Ocean to Generate Zero-Emission Electricity and Desalinate Water Simultaneously

by Rafi Schwartz 
It’s not the size of the buoy that counts. It’s the motion in the ocean.
Actually, both are pretty important. At least, they are when it comes to Australia’s new CETO 5 system: “The first array of wave power generators to be connected to an electricity grid in Australia and worldwide" according to Australian Renewable Energy Agency CEO Ivor Frischknecht. As of February 18, that system has been channeling clean, efficient, zero-emission energy into Australia’s power grid, providing electricity to the country’s largest naval base.
CETO 5, named for the ancient Greek sea goddess, is part of the “Carnegie Perth Wave Energy Project,” a multimillion dollar initiative built to demonstrate the commercial viability of a large-scale wave power. The system is already turning heads both for the energy it produces, as well as the pollution it doesn’t.
CETO 5 (the fifth iteration of the CETO technology) is a modular array of three, entirely-submerged 240 kW buoys and water pumps. As oceanic waves move the buoys, they in turn activate the pumps, pushing pressurized water through power turbines, while simultaneously feeding into a desalinization system.
According to Carnegie Wave, CETO has a number of potential commercial advantages over other wave power generating systems (as attn asks: “there’s more than one?”): CETO’s modular design allows for customizable scalability, and its being entirely submerged renders the equipment less susceptible to damage from storms and air erosion. What’s more, explains Australian Energy Minister Ian Macfarlane, the ebb and flow of the ocean is a much more reliable source of power than comparable green-energy systems, such as wind and solar.
Plans are already underway for a CETO 6, expected to generate four times as much power as the current system. As Carnegie Wave Energy CEO Michael Ottaviano told The West Australian: "The great thing about it is we know it works. The challenge from here on is really about scale and cost."

Energy Bombshell

The International Energy Agency says global energy-related CO2 emissions were flat in 2014, the first time that has happened during a time of economic growth.

Cyclones and El Nino

Two cyclones spinning on opposite sides of the equator could juice the weak El Nino in place.

Body Paintings Blend into the Natural World

The optical illusion body art of Natalie Fletcher. Her mindbending illusions are cool, but she's done even more amazing stuff with body painting. I'm especially impressed with a series called Lost in the Landscape. Fletcher painted human bodies so that they almost perfectly blend into the background of natural wonders. Her models recede into nature as their skin turns into the images behind them.

Ten Cool Facts That Might Make You Want to Visit Antarctica

No, this isn't a picture of some kind of horrible environmental disaster, nor is it Photoshop. In fact, this photo of a "bloodfall" portrays Antarctica in its pristine, natural state. It's a result of a water source low in oxygen and high in iron that has a whole colony of microbes that survive on the iron and sulfur in the water.
Antarctica is also a great place to look for meteorites as they don't get covered with dirt or mixed in with other rocks -and, best of all, they contrast with the ice cover on the world's coldest continent.
Are your interests in Antarctica peaked? If so, you won't want to miss this cool article on TopTenz featuring 10 cool bits of trivia about Antarctica.

'Space Invader'

A peculiar alien visitor has been found on the International Space Station -- but does it come in peace?

Curiosity Regains Use of Arm

Good news from Mars: Rover Curiosity has regained use of its robotic arm after an electrical glitch forced mission scientists to suspend drilling work at the base of Mount Sharp.

Extraterrestrial Liquid Water

Our solar systems moons keep showing evidence for liquid water. These exciting discoveries have scientists re-examining how we should look for life "out there," and where we should look.


Man who escaped harm in vehicle rollover then attacked by bees from trailer he'd been towing

A driver crawled "miraculously uninjured" from the wreckage of a vehicle rollover only to be stung by a swarm of angry bees that had escaped from the trailer he was towing, police say.
Police and fire crews were called to remove the vehicle because of the "bee hazard" at the accident scene on the Stuart Highway about 17 kilometers north of Katherine in Australia's Northern Territory, according to Duty Superintendent Louise Jorgensen. "The bees became very angry and they escaped and as he was crawling out of the vehicle miraculously uninjured he got stung by the bees," she said.
Police were called to the accident at about 5:45pm on Wednesday. "The bees presented more of an issue than the wreckage initially," Duty Superintendent Jorgensen said. "We were concerned if people saw the wreckage passing by they were going to stop and get stung as well. It was quite a hazard for the attending police and fire crews."
The four-wheel drive vehicle had flipped and come to rest in scrub-land 10 meters from the edge of the road. "He was towing a trailer full of bees when the trailer wheel caught the edge of the road," Duty Superintendent Jorgensen said. "The vehicle and the trailer fishtailed for quite a distance, then the vehicle actually flipped." She said the 18-year-old man was uninjured except for the bee stings.

Two men 200km apart bitten by snakes 'within minutes of each other' flown to same hospital

In an unusual coincidence, two men have been flown to the same hospital in Darwin, Australia, after being bitten by snakes in separate remote parts of the Northern Territory "within minutes of each other".
A man on a station near Adelaide River was bitten by a snake as he was walking in long grass, while 200km to the north another man on the Tiwis was bitten on the arm by a snake he disturbed under a building. The calls came "within minutes of each other", at about 2:00pm on Thursday, according to CareFlight co-founder Ian Badham.
He said the man on the station was driven 40 minutes to the Adelaide River clinic with his leg strapped with a compression bandage to slow the potential spread of venom. "Two separate CareFlight crew flew to the men and transferred them to Royal Darwin hospital were they are under observation in a stable condition," he said.
Mr Badham said the rescues presented a "surprising challenge" and required the CareFlight helicopter and turbo-prop aircraft to fly simultaneous missions. "Two separate medical teams to fly in opposite directions to bring them back to Darwin for observation," he said. Neither man required anti-venom.

75-year-old woman strangled rabid raccoon after it bit her

A 75-year-old woman from Henrico, Virginia, said she had no choice but to strangle a rabid raccoon with her bare hands.

Cas Overton said she was walking in the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden while birdwatching when a raccoon latched onto her leg and started biting. Overton said she immediately drew on her tai chi training, which she’s taught for 40 years.
“I could reach down to get it off of me, got it by the neck with both hands… so I knew what I had to do,” she said. Overton said she then put her knee on the raccoon’s neck until the raccoon stopped breathing.

Since the attack Overton said she has been receiving rabies shots and treatment for the bite. In addition, Overton said she felt terrible killing the raccoon because she loves animals. 

Starving sea lions are washing on to California shores by the hundreds

pacificmmc.org Some 1,450 sea lions have washed up on California beaches this year, in what animal experts call a growing crisis for the animal. In the New York Times, the story of one 8-month-old pup found "starving, stranded and hundreds of miles from a mother who still needed to nurse him and teach him to hunt and feed."
In February, 2015, California animal rescuers saved 1,100 sea lions. They report five times more sea lion rescues than normal so far this year.
What's to blame? Experts blame rising water temperatures, due to global climate change.
The pup had lain on the beach for hours, becoming the target of an aggressive dog before managing to wriggle onto the deck of a million-dollar oceanfront home, where the owner shielded him with an umbrella and called animal control. In came Ms. Leeds, an animal-care expert at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, which like other California rescue centers is being inundated with calls about lost, emaciated sea lions.
“It’s getting crazy,” she said.
Experts suspect that unusually warm waters are driving fish and other food away from the coastal islands where sea lions breed and wean their young. As the mothers spend time away from the islands hunting for food, hundreds of starving pups are swimming away from home and flopping ashore from San Diego to San Francisco.
"Starving Sea Lions Washing Ashore by the Hundreds in California" [nytimes.com]
Here's the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, which could use your support to help more of these little guys.

Tropical fire ants traveled the world on 16th century ships

Thanks to a bit of genetic sleuthing, researchers now know the invasion history of the tropical fire ant (Solenopsis geminata), the first ant species known to travel the globe by sea.
Soil was loaded onto Spanish galleons traveling from Acapulco, Mexico, to Manila, Philippines, in the 16th century. The soil, needed for ballast on empty vessels, likely also included tropical fire ants, researchers report
Their study, reported in the journal Molecular Ecology, reveals that 16th century Spanish galleons shuttled tropical fire ants from Acapulco, Mexico, across the Pacific to the Philippines, and from there to other parts of the world. Today, the ant species is found in virtually all tropical regions, including in Africa, the Americas, Australia, India and Southeast Asia.
"A lot of these ships, particularly if they were going somewhere to pick up commerce, would fill their ballast with soil and then they would dump the soil out in a new port and replace it with cargo," said University of Illinois entomology professor and animal biology department head Andrew Suarez, an author on the study. "They were unknowingly moving huge numbers of organisms in the ballast soil."
Suarez conducted the study with U.S. Department of Agriculture research entomologist DeWayne Shoemaker, University of Vermont biology professor Sara Helms Cahan, former UVM graduate student Heather Axen (now a postdoctoral researcher at Salve Regina University), and former Illinois postdoctoral researcher Dietrich Gotzek.
"Invasive ants are a huge problem. Once they arrive, they establish really high densities in new habitats, with negative consequences for agriculture, native species and human quality of life," Helms Cahan said. "Controlling them costs millions of dollars annually."
The researchers analyzed the genomes of tropical fire ants from 192 locales, looking at patterns of genetic diversity. The team also analyzed the trading patterns of Spanish sailing vessels going to and from the New World in the mid-1600s.
Once found only in the Americas, the tropical fire ant is now distributed across most of the tropical regions of the world
"If you look at the records, you look at the history, you look at the old trading routes and you look at the genetics, it all paints this picture that this was one of the first global invasions, and it coincided with what could be the first global trade pattern of the Spanish," Suarez said. "The ants from the introduced areas in the Old World are genetically most similar to ants from southwestern Mexico, suggesting that their source population came from this region."
The researchers were able to date the ants' invasion of the Old World to the 16th century. At this time, the Spanish had just established a regular trade route between Acapulco and Manila, Philippines, not only setting up the first trade route across the Pacific Ocean but also effectively globalizing commerce.
"Acapulco was a big stopping point for the Spanish," Suarez said.
"From there, Spanish galleons brought silver to Manila, which served as a hub for trade with China," the authors wrote.
The researchers hypothesized that the original ant population would have the highest level of genetic diversity and that any ants taken from that original population to a new environment would have a subset of that original variability.
And that is what they found.
"There was this very clear pattern where there was the most genetic diversity in the New World, where it's native, and then you see these stepping stones of nested subsets of diversity as you move away from the New World into the Old World," Suarez said. And the pattern of genetic changes over time "always overlaps the timing of when the Spanish trade was going on," he said.
"Our research highlights the importance of historical trade routes in setting up current distributions of pest species," said Gotzek, who conducted the genetic analyses. "It also establishes the utility of using genetic data to reveal such patterns."
"Uncovering events that happened long ago, before the age of digital tracking codes and customs enforcement, is often a difficult task," Helms Cahan said. "Luckily for us, however, it turns out that invasive species keep their own records of their history, encoded in their genomes."

Surprise Cameo

A camera trap meant to record chimpanzees makes a chance discovery.

Salted, Melting Snow and Wildlife

Salt on the roads makes it easier for us to get around in winter, but it's an environmental killer. 

Animal Pictures